Welcome to Serial Saturdays, a place where a story comes to life. These are short stories that come together in a whole. Each story will be labeled with the name and the “episode” number. Enjoy, and hope to see you every Saturday!
I was different from the other children. I didn’t know that the night was abandoned on a doorstep. That night is fogged in my mind. I must have been a tot, for the memories are there, though dim. The colors are muted by darkness, the air feels like nothing around me. If I close my eyes and focus, I can feel a hand slip away from mind and a breath of wind against my face. The door opened and a woman exclaimed over me. Her face was hidden so high above, beyond a plump middle bound with a sturdy apron.
She took me to the nearest village the next day. She set me on a blanket while she talked to other tall men and women. They walked away, shaking their heads and averting their eyes. Hot air surged around me. The sun stung my eyes and my skin turned bright red. Dust clogged my nose. I tugged on her skirt and she patted my head. When we went home I carried the blanket for her while she carried the basket she’d brought.
I was ill that second day. Sun-sick, she called it. An ailment that children usually only got from being in the sun for weeks on end. My skin was blistered and sore. She hauled water into the cottage for me, and soaked my sores while humming. She sighed often, and caressed my hair as if she knew me.
When we went out again, she made me wear a hat and stationed me in the shade of a market wall. It was a different village, but the people were the same. They shook their heads, they sighed, they patted the woman on her shoulder. Some of them glanced at me, as if I were a curiosity. I saw children playing, but had no desire to join them. They had no cares or worries.
The Woman took me to three more nearby villages in the next week. From snips of conversations I understood she was looking for someone. Another woman. A mother. Perhaps my mother, but if I’d had one she had left me. That I knew for certain. I heard the adults whisper about a killing in the hills, and she wondered who could do such a thing. Another long day, hot day ended when we arrived to her cottage.
Wind swept over me and I looked up at the touch. A shadow-shape was already high in the sky again. The woman ushered me into her home, a wary glance cast up. She muttered about dragons, about the dangers they brought. She fed me and put me to bed. I don’t remember that she ever spoke directly to me, but around and over and about me. I was content to follow her, to let her discuss me.
She took me somewhere new the next day. Not a village, but a quiet stone room, with a smaller room inside. It was dark, but there was a hole in the ceiling to let a shaft of light in. It smelled like dirt and smoke. A tall man met us, and took me into the inner room. He lit a fire and asked me to tell him what I saw in the flames. I looked, I saw. I don’t know that I spoke, but I told him and he said not to tell anyone else, but to keep the fire-sight my own and uncorrupted. He took me out to the woman, he told her to take me home, to keep me safe, and to bring me back if she needed to. Their whispers floated through and past me without my understanding.
The woman took me home. She had me stand in the middle of the room and took my measurements. Then she stooped down to look me in the eyes. She told me I was home, and she named me Niece.
Thanks for reading, fellow adventurers! I hope you enjoyed. Please let me know what you think, and please come back next time!
The picture was found via Pinterest, and the link to it’s site was broken. Thus if you are the owner or know who the owner is, please let me know!